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The Pulp Magazine Archive

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The first "pulp" was Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy Magazine of 1896, about 135,000 words (192 pages) per issue on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no illustrations, not even on the cover. While the steam-powered printing press had been in widespread use for some time, enabling the boom in dime novels, prior to Munsey, no one had combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to working-class people. In six years Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.

Street & Smith were next on the market. A dime novel and boys' weekly publisher, they saw Argosy's success, and in 1903 launched The Popular Magazine, billed as the "biggest magazine in the world" by virtue of being two pages longer than Argosy. Due to differences in page layout, the magazine had substantially less text than Argosy. The Popular Magazine introduced color covers to pulp publishing. The magazine began to take off when, in 1905, the publishers acquired the rights to serialize Ayesha, by H. Rider Haggard, a sequel to his popular novel She. Haggard's Lost World genre influenced several key pulp writers, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt. In 1907, the cover price rose to 15 cents and 30 pages were added to each issue; along with establishing a stable of authors for each magazine, this change proved successful and circulation began to approach that of Argosy. Street and Smith's next innovation was the introduction of specialized genre pulps, each magazine focusing on a genre such as detective stories, romance, etc.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The most successful pulp magazines were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories described by some pulp historians as "The Big Four". Among the best-known other titles of this period were Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Flying Aces, Horror Stories, Love Story Magazine, Marvel Tales, Oriental Stories, Planet Stories, Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine. Although pulp magazines were primarily a US phenomenon, there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War Two. Notable UK pulps included Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Story-Teller, The Sovereign Magazine, Hutchinson's Adventure-Story and Hutchinson's Mystery-Story. The German fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten had a similar format to American pulp magazines, in that it was printed on rough pulp paper and heavily illustrated.

The Second World War paper shortages had a serious impact on pulp production, starting a steady rise in costs and the decline of the pulps. Beginning with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941, pulp magazines began to switch to digest size; smaller, thicker magazines. In 1949, Street & Smith closed most of their pulp magazines in order to move upmarket and produce slicks.[8] The pulp format declined from rising expenses, but even more due to the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel. In a more affluent post-war America, the price gap compared to slick magazines was far less significant. In the 1950s, Men's adventure magazines began to replace the pulp.

The 1957 liquidation of the American News Company, then the primary distributor of pulp magazines, has sometimes been taken as marking the end of the "pulp era"; by that date, many of the famous pulps of the previous generation, including Black Mask, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Weird Tales, were defunct. Almost all of the few remaining pulp magazines are science fiction or mystery magazines now in formats similar to "digest size", such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The format is still in use for some lengthy serials, like the German science fiction weekly Perry Rhodan.

Over the course of their evolution, there were a huge number of pulp magazine titles; Harry Steeger of Popular Publications claimed that his company alone had published over 300, and at their peak they were publishing 42 titles per month. Many titles of course survived only briefly. While the most popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly. The collapse of the pulp industry changed the landscape of publishing because pulps were the single largest sales outlet for short stories. Combined with the decrease in slick magazine fiction markets, writers attempting to support themselves by creating fiction switched to novels and book-length anthologies of shorter pieces.

Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. The early pulp magazines could boast covers by some distinguished American artists; The Popular Magazine had covers by N.C. Wyeth, and Edgar Franklin Wittmack contributed cover art to Argosy and Short Stories. Later, many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Earl Mayan, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Rudolph Belarski and Sidney Riesenberg. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match.

Later pulps began to feature interior illustrations, depicting elements of the stories. The drawings were printed in black ink on the same cream-colored paper used for the text, and had to use specific techniques to avoid blotting on the coarse texture of the cheap pulp. Thus, fine lines and heavy detail were usually not an option. Shading was by crosshatching or pointillism, and even that had to be limited and coarse. Usually the art was black lines on the paper's background, but Finlay and a few others did some work that was primarily white lines against large dark areas.

Another way pulps kept costs down was by paying authors less than other markets; thus many eminent authors started out in the pulps before they were successful enough to sell to better-paying markets, and similarly, well-known authors whose careers were slumping or who wanted a few quick dollars could bolster their income with sales to pulps. Additionally, some of the earlier pulps solicited stories from amateurs who were quite happy to see their words in print and could thus be paid token amounts. There were also career pulp writers, capable of turning out huge amounts of prose on a steady basis, often with the aid of dictation to stenographers, machines or typists. Before he became a novelist, Upton Sinclair was turning out at least 8,000 words per day seven days a week for the pulps, keeping two stenographers fully employed. Pulps would often have their authors use multiple pen names so that they could use multiple stories by the same person in one issue, or use a given author's stories in three or more successive issues, while still appearing to have varied content. One advantage pulps provided to authors was that they paid upon acceptance for material instead of on publication; since a story might be accepted months or even years before publication, to a working writer this was a crucial difference in cash flow.

Some pulp editors became known for cultivating good fiction and interesting features in their magazines. Preeminent pulp magazine editors included Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (Adventure), Robert H. Davis (All-Story Weekly), Harry E. Maule (Short Stories) Donald Kennicott (Blue Book), Joseph T. Shaw (Black Mask), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales, Oriental Stories), John W. Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction,Unknown) and Daisy Bacon (Love Story Magazine, Detective Story Magazine).

Description of this collection from Wikipedia.

Many issues of this collection come from a variety of anonymous contributors, as well as sites such as The Pulp Magazines Project and ThePulp.net.

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wollheim, donald allen, 1914-1990
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The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Wollheim, Donald Allen, 1914-1990; Howard, Robert Ervin, 1906-1936; Morgan, Grace Jones, 1885-1977; Lovecraft, Howard Phillips, 1890-1937; Weiss, George Henry, 1898-1946; Jameson, Malcolm Routh, 1891-1945; Breuer, Miles John, 1889-1945; Long, Amelia Reynolds, 1904-1978
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A scanned copy of the magazine "Avon Fantasy Reader" issue 10. Published by Avon Novels, Inc. in 1949. Edited by Donald A. Wollheim. Periodical copyright not renewed; contributions' copyrights not renewed. This publication is now in the public domain. Featuring: A Witch Shall Be Born by Robert E. Howard; Bimini by Bassett Morgan (aka Grace Jones Morgan); The Statement of Randolph Carter by H. P. Lovecraft; The Mentanicals by Francis Flagg (aka George Weiss); Vengeance in Her Bones by...
Topics: pulp, pulps, pulp magazine, science fiction, fantasy
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
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292 • The Eyrie (Weird Tales, September 1927) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor 295 • The Wolf-Woman • novelette by Bassett Morgan 311 • The Moon Menace • novelette by Edmond Hamilton 331 • The Beast of the Yungas • short story by Willis Knapp Jones 337 • The Dead Wagon • short story by Greye La Spina 350 • The White Lady of the Orphanage • [Jules de Grandin] • novelette by Seabury Quinn 365 • The Turret Room • short story by August Derleth [as by August W....
Topics: Weird Tales, 1927, fantasy, sf, fiction, pulp
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 950
favorite 4
comment 1
148 • The Eyrie (Weird Tales, September 1931) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor 148 •  Letter (Weird Tales, September 1931) • essay by J. Vernon Shea [as by J. Vernon Shea, Jr.] 150 • The Footfalls Within • [Solomon Kane] • short story by Robert E. Howard 160 • The Golden Elixir • short story by Paul Ernst 170 • The Message • short story by Clinton Dangerfield 176 • Satan's Stepson • [Jules de Grandin] • (1931) • novella by Seabury Quinn 217 • Deadlock •...
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Topics: Weird Tales, pulp, fiction, fantasy, horro
The Pulp Magazine Archive
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    149 • The Woman of the Wood • novelette by A. Merritt     167 • The Whistling Monsters • novelette by B. Wallis     183 • The Tsantsa of Professor Von Rothapfel • short story by Alanson Skinner     191 • The Terrible Old Man • (1921) • short story by H. P. Lovecraft     193 • The Door of Hell • novelette by Emma-Lindsay Squier     204 • The Devil's Pay • short story by August Derleth [as by August W. Derleth]     207 • The Monster-God of...
Topics: Weird Tales, pulp, fiction, fantasy, horror
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 548
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    514 • The Fire of Asshurbanipal • [Cthulhu Mythos Tales] • novelette by Robert E. Howard     530 • Out of the Sun • shortstory by Granville S. Hoss     537 • Vespers • poem by Edgar Daniel Kramer     538 • The Haunter of the Dark • [Cthulhu Mythos] • novelette by H. P. Lovecraft     554 • Portrait of a Murderer • shortstory by John Russell Fearn     563 • Mother of Serpents • shortstory by Robert Bloch     570 • The Cyclops of Xoatl •...
Topics: Weird Tales, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction, 1936
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 485
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    The Eyrie (Weird Tales, November 1925) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor     581 • The Stolen Body • (1898) • short story by H. G. Wells     589 • The Return of the Undead • short story by Arthur Leeds [as by Arthur Leads]     599 • Lukundoo • (1907) • short story by Edward Lucas White     607 • Vale of the Corbies • short story by Arthur J. Burks     612 • Midnight Realism • short story by William Sanford     615 • The Acid in the...
Topics: weird tales, 1925, pulp, fiction, fantasy, horror
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 464
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149 • Red Ether (Part 1 of 2) • serial by Petterson Marzoni 173 • The Isle of Missing Ships • [Jules de Grandin] • novelette by Seabury Quinn 193 • The Word of Santiago • [Pierre d'Atois] • short story by E. Hoffmann Price 200 • The Avenging Hand • short story by Roy Wallace Davis 205 • Phantom Billiards • short story by Frank E. Walker 211 • The White Dog • (1915) • short story by Фёдор Сологуб (trans. of Собака, 1908) [as by Feodor Sologub] 215...
Topics: Weird Tales, pulp, fiction, fantasy, horror
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
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The Eyrie (Weird Tales, June 1926) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor 725 • The Foot Fetish • short story by Howard R. Marsh 735 • Spider-Bite • novelette by Robert S. Carr 751 • The Death Crescents of Koti • (1926) • short story by Romeo Poole 762 • Ghosts of the Air • short story by J. M. Hiatt and Moye W. Stephens 767 • The Charm That Failed • short story by George Ballard Bowers 769 • The Life Serum • short story by Paul S. Powers 779 • Their Last Job •...
Topics: Weird Tales, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
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5 • Stealer of Souls • novelette by Charles Hilan Craig 21 • On the Dead Man's Chest (Part 1 of 4) • serial by Eli Colter 29 • The Dead Soul • short story by Raoul Lenoir 39 • The Black Crusader • short story by Alicia Ramsey 47 • McGill's Appointment • short story by Elsie Ellis 49 • The Mystery Under the Sea • short story by Donald E. Keyhoe 59 • Adam, to Lilith • poem by E. Hoffmann Price 60 • The Avenger • short fiction by H. Thompson Rich 63 • The Fair...
Topics: Weird Tales, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction, 1926
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 418
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    293 • The City of Glass • novelette by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr.     317 • The Blood-Flower • [Jules de Grandin] • novelette by Seabury Quinn     331 • The Seventh Symphony • [Ivan Brodsky • 7] • (1910) • shortstory by Victor Rousseau     337 • Evolution Island • novelette by Edmond Hamilton     354 • A Requiem • poem by Ernest Dowson     355 • Soul-Catcher • shortstory by Robert S. Carr     360 • The Specter • poem by Miles J. Breuer,...
Topics: Weird Tales, 1927, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 365
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148 • The Eyrie (Weird Tales, August 1927 ) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor 151 • The Bride of Osiris (Part 1 of 3) • serial by Otis Adelbert Kline 173 • Satan's Fiddle • novelette by George Malcolm-Smith 188 • The Power of the Dog • short story by G. G. Pendarves 193 • Creeping Shadows • [Jules de Grandin] • short story by Seabury Quinn 206 • Lake Desolation • poem by Leavenworth Macnab 207 • Fly Island • short story by B. Wallis 219 • The Man with a...
Topics: Weird Tales, 1927, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction